Alex Smith and the 49ers put up a franchise record 621 total yards of offense as they lambasted the Bills 45-3
It was a career day for Alex Smith as he completed 18 of 24 pass attempts for 303 yards and three touchdowns. It was only his 3rd career 300 yard passing game, and the first that came with a 49ers victory.
“Alex [Smith] was really on the money all day,” Said Harbaugh, “Good throw after good throw.”
The 49ers also became the first team in NFL history to rush for 300 yards and pass for 300 yards in the same game. Frank Gore went over 100 yards rushing and Kendall Hunter added on 81 yards of his own. In total the 49ers had 38 rushes and averaged 8.2 yards per carry.
But the 49ers near perfect day got off to a bit of a rough start. Three different first half penalties negated big plays for the 49ers on offense.
A holding penalty brought back a 21 yard reception by Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree had a big 41 yard catch and run brought back after a chop block by Frank Gore. Kaepernick also had a 14 yard run negated after a ticky-tack tripping penalty called on Delanie Walker.
These penalties, plus a fumble from Kaepernick, made the game a close 10-3 in the final minute of the half. The Bills had the ball with :37 seconds left in the half and after a run, it looked as if that would be the halftime score, but the 49ers called an aggressive timeout and on the next play Patrick Willis forced a fumble, setting up a 28 yard touchdown pass to Crabtree.
Alex Smith said after the game, “I think it was the huge point in the game, to get the turnover, to get the 7 poionts to go in 17-3 instead of 10-6. Big difference.”
It was really a turning point moment and you could tell the second half was going to add up to something.
Sure enough, the 49ers came out firing to start the second half. After a quick five play drive by the Bills that included a sack from Ahmad Brooks, the only sack of the game, the 49ers took over. After having all kinds of time in the pocket, a theme consistent throughout the game, Smith made a perfect pass to Vernon Davis on a fade route on the right side for 24 yards. Two plays later Gore would bust a big run up the middle for a 31 yard gain. Kaepernick would rush for 16 yards on a bootleg left, getting the ball to the 1 yard line. Gore would pound it in this time for the touchdown and the 49ers took a commanding 24-3 lead.
The Bills would march down field on the next drive looking to get back into the ball game. They made it down to the SF 20 yard line, but Fitzpatrick threw a terribly under thrown ball to Donald Jones that was picked off by Chris Culliver on the 4 yard line. It was Culliver’s first interception of the year.
At that point there was still seven minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, but the 49ers were clearly ready to start running down the clock. 13 play 94 yard drive that took up nearly 8 minutes of the clock. However, this would lead to perhaps their most impressive drive of the game. The 49ers pushed their way down field going 94 yards on 13 plays, culminated by a touchdown pass from Alex Smith to a wide open Mario Manningham in the end zone. More importantly, the drive took almost eight minutes off the clock and really ended any hopes of a Bills comeback.
To give an idea of just how keyed in Alex Smith and the 49ers offense was against the Bills, on 4th and 2 with 10 minutes to go in the game on the Buffalo 46 yard line, the 49ers elected to go for it. Alex Smith runs a play action bootleg left, and for a good 10 yards he is the only player on that side of the field, easily picking up the first down.
It was Smith’s last play of the game as Kaepernick took over the rest of the way. Smith, to add onto everything else he did today, had a career high in rushing yards with 49 on three carries.
Kaepernick would rush in for a touchdown and even Anthony Dixon managed to get a touchdown and 21 yards on four carries.
Harbaugh after the game said, “Good team victory […]A lot of people involved, and a lot of people making plays.”
Alex Smith added that it was “the best offensive performance I’ve been a part of.”
The line was a key part of the victory, not allowing a sack all game. Alex Smith consistently had plenty of time to make his reads in the pocket, making it easier to find those open receivers. Anthony Davis had a huge game matched up against the highest paid defensive player in NFL history in Mario Williams and holding him to only two tackles and two quarterback hurries.
The 49ers will have little time to bask in the glow of this historic victory because the New York Giants are coming into town for a rematch next Sunday. The 49ers will look for a bit of redemption after falling to the Giants in the NFC championship game last January.
-According to ESPN.Com, Alex Smith had a QBR of 99.2, the best rating for any quarterback in any game this year. Smith now has the high QBR in the league at 88.9.
-The 49ers did not punt after the first quarter and scored a touchdown on their last five possessions.
-The Bills entered the game averaging 28.8 point per game, but were held to only 204 yards of total offense and three points.